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Great Christmas Books for Catholic Kids

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

After the dust of a busy Christmas Day settles, the Octave of Christmas lends itself to calm moments around the Christmas tree reading about Jesus’ birthday. Here’s a list of eight of my favorite Christmas books for Catholic children.

by Regina Lordan

After the dust of a busy Christmas Day settles, the Octave of Christmas lends itself to calm moments around the Christmas tree reading about Jesus’ birthday. Here’s a list of eight of my favorite Christmas books for Catholic children.

Little Lamb Finds Christmas

The messages to adults and children in Little Lamb Finds Christmas by Cathy Gilmore are impactful and plentiful. Little Lemi is a lamb who has the dangerous habit of getting lost. One time he wandered so far from his shepherd that he got stuck in a thicket. Thankfully, his loving young shepherd brings him back home to the herd. One evening a glorious star beckons the shepherd to find a baby king sleeping in a manger. Inquisitive Lemi tries to keep up with the shepherd, but of course he loses his way. Guided by the same beautiful light, Lemi finally finds his shepherd worshiping the newborn king. As Lemi comes to kneel before the baby, a lion also approaches, making Lemi shutter in fear. But as the baby outstretches his hands to feel the soft fur of both his creatures, Lemi knows that all will be well.

Treachery and Truth

Did you ever wonder about this “good King Wenceslas” whom we sing about every Christmas? He was a pious and just Czech Catholic duke named Vaclav I. Treachery and Truth by Katy Huth Jones is a novel for preteen and young teenage boys based on his life. Told from the fictional point of view of an enslaved pagan servant set free by Vaclav’s generosity, the book shows the king’s great mission to restore nationalism and Christianity in his homeland. At times, 10th-century life was brutal and the author does not hide some of these harsh realities from readers. This book is best for mature readers.


Many books are set around animals’ experiences at the holy Nativity. It makes sense, Jesus was born among animals in stable. In Manger poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, wild and domestic animals rejoice and give praise to the baby Jesus one poem at a time. Each awestruck and curios animal — from the spider to the cow — lends a voice to the chorus of Christmas celebration.

Humphrey’s First Christmas

Speaking of animals, Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer is a silly book about a selfish, single-minded camel who is only concerned about his treasured blanket. He is tasked with carrying impossibly heavy boxes bearing gifts for this strange king and is frustrated with his master who doesn’t cut this needy camel a break. When Humphrey finally meets the king, he is awestruck that this is only a baby in a manger. Feeling the need to give the baby everything he has, Humphrey gifts the baby his blanket. Heyer’s illustrations are some of the best; children will gravitate to Humphrey’s ridiculous personality and endearing eyes.

That Baby in the Manger

That Baby in the Manger by Anne E. Neuberger shows children in a colorful and cheerful way that Jesus came for everyone, no matter what they look like. A group of curious children, beautiful in their multicultural diversity, were preparing for Christmas Mass when they started asking questions about the statue of the baby Jesus. Why didn’t he look like many of them, and why didn’t he look like Jesus most likely did, with dark skin, hair and eyes? This book celebrates the truth of Christmas while highlighting the mystery of God’s interactions with us through prayer and each other.

The Secret of the Santa Box

The Secret of the Santa Box by Christopher Fenoglio gently and beautifully answers a maturing child’s questions about the truthfulness of the story of Santa. But the Catholic faith shows us that the real joy of Christmas is Jesus’ birth itself and that the joy of the mystery of Christmas comes not from Santa but from everyone—and Jesus himself. Told in cheerful illustrations and rhymes, children will grow to understand that although Santa is not real, Jesus is, and his gifts are true and everlasting.

What Did Baby Jesus Do?

What Did Baby Jesus Do? by Virginia Esquinaldo is the perfect Christmas book for toddlers and young children. Each illustration of the Holy Family is so endearing, don’t be surprised if your child smiles each time he or she sees the baby Jesus playing with little chicks, or if he or she reacts to Joseph’s broad and bearded smile. This book highlights in the most simple way Jesus’ divinity and God’s great gift to us through his son. As the book says, “Yes, Jesus Christ, God’s only son, came to us so small and new — a little baby, just like you.”

A Special Place for Santa

A Special Place for Santa: A Legend for Our Time by Jeanne Pieper is one of those books that will be read year after year and appreciated more and more with age. In this book, readers are reminded that the legend of Santa is born out of stories about a real bishop from Turkey, St. Nicholas, who was known for his generosity. Feeling the burden of an increasingly materialistic and secular Christmas, Santa prays in an empty church and wonders if he is to blame. God gently reminds Santa of his gift of sharing Christmas joy and love to children around the world. As the morning sun shines through the church’s windows, Santa rushes to kneel in front of the baby Jesus in the Nativity scene, reminding us that Jesus really is the reason for the joy and love we feel on Christmas Day.

*Some of this material originally appeared in Catholic News Service reviews written by Regina Lordan.

Regina Lordan, digital editor at Peanut Butter & Grace, is a mother of three with master’s degrees in education and political science. She currently reviews books for Catholic News Service and is a former assistant international editor of Catholic News Service. 

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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    You forgot Tomie de Paola ‘The Legend of the Poinsettia’

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